Carlos Sainz expected new Ferrari contract, then situation ‘changed completely’

Carlos Sainz finished six points behind Charles Leclerc in the 2023 Formula 1 drivers' championship

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Carlos Sainz insisted he has the full support of Ferrari despite the Scuderia confirming he’ll be replaced for 2025 by Lewis Hamilton, and the Spaniard said he’s not thinking about his departure until the end of the season.

Sainz had expected to sign a contract extension alongside Charles Leclerc but negotiations reportedly broke down over his request for a multi-year deal running to at least the end of 2026, before Ferrari ultimately decided not to continue beyond the end of his current agreement.

He spoke to the media in Bahrain after sitting out the first session of pre-season testing, Leclerc took the wheel of the SF-24 and finished second behind Max Verstappen.

“Funnily enough, my future was decided before the first race,” Sainz told the press. “I was going to continue with Ferrari, obviously they said no, unexpectedly, I was looking forward to signing a new contract with them and everything looked to be in the right path to go that way.

“But obviously the situation has changed completely to where I thought we were in October, November last year, I am basically a free agent for 2025 and I have no idea yet who I’m going to be racing with, so I need to take my time to decide.”

Sainz putting emotions aside for final Ferrari year

Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur flanked by Charles Leclerc (left) and Carlos Sainz (right) ahead of F1 2024 season | Scuderia Ferrari press office

Sainz has been linked to Mercedes in a straight-swap with Hamilton, or joining the Audi project at Sauber headed up by Andreas Seidl.

Seidl worked with Sainz at McLaren for two years that helped rescue the Spaniard’s career, following difficult stints at Toro Rosso and Renault.

However, Sainz refused to give any more hints on his future and said the record-breaking 24-race 2024 season is so long he’ll have plenty of time to say his goodbyes.

Sainz added: “I know from Fred and company that they’re going to give me full support, that if we are in a championship fight this year, we’re gonna push that opportunity together and have a nice last year together.”

“On the emotional side, to be honest still not a lot because there’s 24 races ahead of us and I guess for sure, the last couple of races or the last week will be emotional especially because I will leave behind a great group of people that I work very well alongside.

“I’ve met some very good human beings in Ferrari and I’ve also met a lot of people that have made me feel at home right from the beginning.

“So we will leave that emotional part more towards the end of the year, until then it’s obviously head down and try to do the best possible job for this team for the last year.”

Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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